Unprecedented demand for water is breaking records in parts of Northland, prompting one council to issue an urgent plea for everyone in a tourist hub to immediately reduce water consumption.
Water carriers throughout the region say they were not inundated with requests over the public holidays but are starting to field calls from lifestyle block owners, baches, and residential houses that rely on tank water.
The Far North District Council is urging residents, businesses, and visitors in Paihia to immediately reduce water consumption as it struggles to keep up with unprecedented demand.
Level 2 water restrictions are in place for Kaitaia, Kawakawa, and Moerewa at present, which means use of unattended garden hoses, sprinklers and irrigation devices by households and businesses connected to council water supplies are banned until further notice.
Although the Paihia water treatment plant is now running 24 hours a day and is producing a record amount of treated water, storage reservoirs that normally refilled overnight are now failing to reach capacity.
The plant normally produces a maximum of 3200 cu m of water a day but staff have managed to push this to 3375 cu m.
"There has been a huge influx of visitors to the area, and the council wants to do all it can to support our tourism industry. However, we simply cannot produce enough water to meet current demand, so I am pleading with everyone to immediately reduce water consumption over the holiday period so we can avoid the need for water restrictions," Far North mayor John Carter said.
"Please remind visitors to the Far North to flush less, shower shorter, turn taps off and only wash full loads of laundry. I also ask the many boaties visiting to consider not washing down their craft until they return home."
Carter said FNDC has redirected bulk water carriers, struggling to keep up with orders to refill rainwater tanks, to its Kawakawa-Moerewa and Kaikohe supplies.
He is urging all residents and visitors to immediately report water leaks by phoning FNDC on 0800 920 029.
"Contractors have already repaired two significant water leaks in the Waitangi area, but we need your help to identify leaks quickly so we can prevent further water loses."
Orders for water delivery is starting to pick up in Dargaville and surrounding areas following the festive season, according to water deliverer Harrison Contracting.
Co-owner Melanie Harrison said calls for water were coming from Tinopai, Arapohue, Te Kopuru, and Paparoa.
"More people are at their baches than normal and it's also starting to dry now. I think people are more organised compared to the last few summers."
Level 2 water restrictions are also in place in Dargaville and Baylys Beach.
Her company is using one truck to deliver water at present but can utilise another if need be.
Husband Richard said their company has a bore south of Dargaville from where they could take 60,000 litres of water per day, apart from filling up at council supplies.
In Whangārei, Andrew Kevey of Water 2 Go is using two trucks and doing 14 runs a day but said he was more busier at this time last year.
Most of the demand for water was coming from Parua Bay and surrounding areas, he said.
There are currently no water restrictions in Whangārei.